It’s hard to see how you could persuade a dedicated follower of Ayn Rand, for example, that it is wrong to lie in court even when telling the truth would have unpleasant consequences.
But there’s a little Randian in all of us. In each of us, there is a moral battle between honesty and its opposite, or selfishness and its opposite.
Got that? A Randian won’t be honest, he’ll just do whatever gets him the most loot. We can corroborate this with the Ayn Rand Lexicon:
Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee—that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
A quick search on Google might have told Andrew that Rand’s position is the complete opposite of the one he attributes to her. The frequency of these “mistakes” in the Guardian left me puzzled at first, but the contents of my pocket have given me one plausible hypothesis.
When you buy coffee from Caffé Nero, they give you a card like this. Each additional cup you buy gets you another stamp, and you can exchange the completed card for a free coffee.
The Guardian must have a similar scheme, whereby each insane misrepresentation, smear, or cheap shot at Objectivism or Ayn Rand is rewarded by a stamp. 9 stamps give you a free cup of coffee.
So in lying about Ayn Rand, Andrew was actually acting in his self interest. This, of course, makes him moral by a “Randian” standard… or something.
**Update: The URL of this page says “sam” because I originally typed that name when drafting this post, inexplicably.**